Earning Your Teaching Degree Online

Online teaching degrees might seem counter-intuitive. How can someone learn to become a teacher in front of a computer? While a valid question, it’s not that black and white. Many of today’s colleges and universities have developed online curricula that combine academic rigor, flexible learning and hands-on work with students in a classroom setting (arranged by the college). In other words, earning a teaching degree online can be just as academically challenging as working toward one 100% on campus. The following page looks at online teaching degree programs from multiple angles. First, which tried and true colleges already have fully accredited online learning options in place? Second, how do online teaching courses work and what are the benefits? There’s a lot that goes into a major college decision, especially when learning online. Let us help.

Best Online Teaching Degrees: 2015

Online teaching degrees continue to grow as a viable option for both new and experienced educators. Most notably, they offer maximum flexibility for people who need to balance school, work, family and other responsibilities. The colleges below have some of today’s top online programs for teachers. They have the most online course options, great student-faculty ratios, affordable tuition and much more. See which colleges and universities have some of the best online teaching degrees for 2015.

For detailed information about our ranking, please visit our methodology page.

SCORE: 98.25 Student to teacher ratio: 3:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: California

Touro University Worldwide offers a fully online undergraduate degree program for students interested in the field of health education, with courses ranging from biology to the behavioral sciences. Graduatescan sit forthe National Commission for Health Education Credentialing exam,which certifies health educators working in businesses, health care facilities, health departments and other environments.

The online program consists of eight-week courses covering topics such as health promotion and community health, with case studies illustrating issues in public health. The curriculum encourages students to identify appropriate educational strategies and teaching methods, develop and implement community programs, and conduct related research.

  • BS in Health Sciences-Health Education
SCORE: 97.18 Student to teacher ratio: 21:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% STATE: Florida

University of Florida offers online degree options for aspiring teachers, which are typically delivered through the Canvas and Sakai learning management systems.Distance learning serves as an appropriate mode of study for would-be educational technologists, supplemented by a practicum in instructional design.Elective subjects in this graduate program include gaming and simulations for learning and teaching.

The University of Florida also has online opportunities for music and art educators interested in working in elementary and secondary schools. Other online offerings emphasize professional preparation forschool administrators, health educators and instructors of children with disabilities.

  • BS in Health Education and Behavior
  • MS in Agricultural Education and Communication
  • MA in Arts Education
  • MA in Music Education
  • MED in Educational Leadership
  • MED in Curriculum and instruction (specialization in Teacher Leadership for School Improvement)
  • MED in Curriculum and instruction (specialization in Teach Well)
  • MED in Curriculum and instruction (specialization in Education Technology)
  • MED in Educational Leadership
  • MED in Higher Education Administration
SCORE: 97.17 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 94% STATE: Georgia

Through its online learning department, University of Georgia offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in education as well as certificate and endorsement programs. Mostofferings are at the post-baccalaureate level, with online programs for both non-teachers and licensed teachers of various grade levels. The courses available cover subjects such asteaching methods for grades4-8 andtechnical training concepts for vocational instructors. Master’s degree programs typically have graduation requirements including a research capstone project, an exit survey and an examination on multicultural education.

Many of University of Georgia’s web-based programs are offered fully online, although some courses require exams at a proctored site.The undergraduate teaching program includes visits to campus as well as field work in schools.

  • BS in Special Education
  • MED in Adult Education
  • MED in Educational Psychology Applied Cognition and Development
  • MED in Educational Psychology Gifted and Creative Education
  • MED in Human Resources and Organizational Development
  • MED in Learning Design Technology Instructional Design and Development
  • MED in Middle School Education
  • MED in Reading Education and New and Digital Literacies
  • MED in Workforce Education
SCORE: 97.12 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% STATE: North Carolina

Through its Center for Distance Learning, North Carolina A&T State University offers education degree programs that incorporate online learning. Web-based courses via the Blackboard system offer streamed lecture videos and allow students tocommunicate with peers and instructors through group discussion sessions and interactive digital classrooms.An orientation course for the electronic learning platform familiarizes students with the technology used through video tutorials, and technical support is available. The university designs online courses and programs to offer the same caliber of education as the on-campus counterparts.

  • BS in Agricultural Education
  • BS in Business Education-Information Technology
  • MS in Agricultural Education
  • MS in Instructional Technology
SCORE: 95.95 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% STATE: North Dakota

Distance learning options from Valley City State University include degrees in education at both the undergraduate and graduate level. These programsbuild on a variety of course delivery modesas well as field experience. Some classes use video conferencing, and technology-based courses offer lab assignments thatcan be completed online.

Online programs feature the opportunity to specialize in a range of subject areas. Programs are designed to prepare students for teaching roles or other activities that involve education and pedagogy. Teaching-related minors, certificates and endorsement programs are available online, as well as continuing education credits for teachers who are not pursuing degrees.

  • BSE in Business Education
  • BA in Career and Technical Education
  • BS in Career and Technical Education
  • BSE in English Education
  • BSE in History Education
  • Bachelor's in Technology Education
  • MED
  • Master's in Technology Education
SCORE: 95.64 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% STATE: Mississippi

Students searching for online courses in education at the University of Southern Mississippi can find a variety of options. Some undergraduate programs focus on preparing teaching assistants while others emphasize working with children with learning disabilities. Online programs are available for specialized subject areas as well. At the graduate level, students may be preparing for leadership or administrative roles.

Online programs from the University of Southern Mississippi are designed in a flexible block format, and students may pace their course of study by splitting required blocks. Distance learners are allowed take certain courses separately to lighten or increase their workload.

  • BS in Elementary Education (for Teacher Assistants)
  • BS in Special Education
  • MED in Educational Administration and Supervision
  • MS in Human Performance (Physical Education)
  • MMED in Music Education
  • MED in Special Education
  • MS in Sport Coaching Education
  • MATL in Teaching of Languages
SCORE: 95.38 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Hawaii

Chaminade University offers online teaching programs for students who are not local to campus or who work full time and require a more flexible class schedule. These degree programs emphasize teaching inclassrooms from early childhood to high school, with an optional specializationin special education.

The bachelor’s degree programs include courses such as children’s literature, exceptional children and managing school environments. The master’s programs are about 50 credits, depending on specialization, withcourses ranging from educational technology toHawaiian culture and language.

Online courses fromChaminade follow the same curriculum and are generally taught by the same instructors as on-campus courses. Distance students can also connect to a network of education professionals in Hawaii after graduation.

  • AD in Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Elementary Education
  • BS in Secondary Education
  • MAT
  • MED
SCORE: 94.92 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Texas

Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, offers undergraduate teaching programs that blend online and field-based delivery methods. Online courses use the university’s Desire2Learn (D2L) platform and may include live lectures.

Certain programs are intended for students without bachelor’s degrees or for non-teachers who hold degrees in other majors.Admission requirements include acceptable scores on the Texas Higher Education Assessment exam.Teaching programs cover a range of elementary-level subjects, for example, math, social studies and language arts. Students can also take classes in methods for teaching English as a second language. Graduates can seek Texas teacher licensure for grades K-6.

  • BS in Elementary Education
SCORE: 94.75 Student to teacher ratio: 9:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 79% STATE: Alaska

Offered through the School of Education, online teaching programs at University of Alaska Southeast are designed for Alaska residents.The undergraduate and graduate degree programs are structured for students interested in teachingeither elementary school or special education classes. Typical courses include multicultural education, Alaska literature for young learners, instructional technologies, physical education and health for grades K-8, literacy, curriculum development and methods for teaching different subjects.

The University of Alaska Southeast’s distance learning programs for teachers require an on-site practicum in area schools. Online courses are delivered through the university’s e-learning system and may include instructional DVDs, audio-conferences and other interactive technologies.

  • AD in General Education
  • AA in General Education
  • BA in Elementary Education
  • BA in Special Education
  • MED in Educational Leadership
  • MED in Educational Technology
  • MAT in Elementary Education
  • MED in Mathematics Education
  • MED in Reading Specialist
  • MED in Science Education
  • MAT in Special Education
  • MED in Special Education
SCORE: 94.7 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 98% STATE: Maine

Saint Joseph's College of Maine is a Catholic liberal arts school for students of all faiths. Its distance education program for adult learners, introduced in 1976,has served students from all 50 states and around the world.

Saint Joseph’s offers current and future teachers online program choices ranging from the associate to the master's degree level. For programs focused on teaching adults, the curriculum covers subjects such as psychology, training fundamentals, and human behavior and development. General education requirements include course work in theology and philosophy. Applicants who have started coursework elsewhere can inquire about transferring college credits.

  • AS in Adult Education and Training
  • BS in General Studies (specialty in Adult Education and Training)
  • MS in Education (concentration in School Educator)
  • MS in Education (concentration in School Leadership)
  • MS in Education (concentration in Catholic School Leadership)
  • MS in Education (concentration in Adult Education and Training)
  • MS in Education (concentration in Health Care Educator)
SCORE: 94.66 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: South Carolina

North Greenville offers Christ-centered online academics to its students,including undergraduate and graduate programs in education and teaching. Distance learning technology allows instructors and students to work closely with one another through a variety of online media. Admission requirements vary — for example, the music education program is designed for licensed teachers who can demonstrate technological competency.

Baccalaureate programsfor elementary school teachers and child care professionals include online courses available in an accelerated 6-week format. Students can learn about best practices for teaching, including utilizing up-to-date techniques in the classroom, incorporating various learning methodologies and becoming a supportive member of the school faculty.

  • Bachelor's in Early Childhood Educational Studies
  • Bachelor's in Elementary Educational Studies
  • Master of Education
  • MA in Teaching
  • Master of Music Education
SCORE: 94.64 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 93% STATE: Mississippi

Mississippi State provides busy students the opportunity to earn online degrees in different areas of teacher education. Students at all academic levels have a variety of choices, including online graduate programs for post-secondary instructors and administrators. The 124-credit undergraduate program in instructional technology provides a foundation for teachingschool subjects such as business education, information and communication technology, and computer applications.

While coursework for these degrees is online, students also participate in field experience or internships, depending on the program. Online students have access to traditional resources available to on-campus students, including the university writing center, library, career counseling and advising.

  • BS in Elementary Education (concentration in Early Childhood)
  • BS in Elementary Education (concentration in Middle School)
  • BS in Technology Teacher Education
  • MAT in Community College Education
  • MAT in Middle Level Alternate
  • MAT in Secondary Teacher Alternate Route
  • MS in Workforce Educational Leadership
  • PHD in Community College Leadership
SCORE: 94.21 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 87% STATE: Delaware

Wilmington University’s online programs offer prospective teachers a range of options including courses for various subject areas and grade levels. Online classes are formatted for either seven or 15 weeks. Each academic year contains three blocks, consisting of spring, fall and winterterms. Assignments, discussions and instructor feedback are posted weekly. Distance learners can choose their own schedule for homework, however, courses are not self paced. Students are obligated to participate between three and five times a week. Communication with instructors takes place through email, chat rooms, messaging, assignment notes, web conferencing and by telephone.

  • AS in Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Career and Technical Education
  • BS in Education Studies (Early Care and Education Birth-Grade 2)
  • BS in Education Studies (Elementary Education K-6)
  • BS in Education Studies (Middle Level Education Grades 6-8)
  • MED in Applied Technology in Education
  • MED in Career and Technical Education
  • MED in ESOL Literacy
  • MED in Instruction (concentration in Gifted and Talented)
  • MED in Instruction (concentration in Teacher of Reading)
  • MED in Instruction (concentration in Teaching and Learning)
  • MS in Nursing Leadership-Educator
  • MED in Reading
  • MED in Reading and ESOL Literacy
  • MED in School Leadership
  • ED in Higher Education Leadership and Innovation
SCORE: 94.02 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% STATE: Virginia

Students at Liberty University have an array of choices when it comes to online teacher education programs. Educating from a Christian perspective, Liberty offers options ranging from associate degrees to doctorates through online coursework. While the graduate programs require on-campus intensive courses, the undergraduate programs are completely online. The university hasa host of possible concentrations, allowing would-be educators to focus on a specific age group or on a particular academic subject.Individuals who are pursuing teacher certification have the option to add a one-year licensure preparation program. Candidates with a background in the education field can ask advisors aboutthe potential to earn life-experience credits.

  • AA in Early Childhood Education
  • AA in Education (non-licensure)
  • BS in Early Childhood Education Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BS in Elementary Education Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BS in Special Education Interdisciplinary Studies
  • BS in Biblical and Educational Studies
  • MAT in Elementary Education
  • MAT in Middle Grades
  • MAT in Secondary Education
  • MAT in Special Education
  • MED in Administration and Supervision
  • MED in Math Specialist Endorsement
  • MED in Reading Specialist Endorsement
  • MED in School Counselor
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Early Childhood Education)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Educational Technology and Online Instruction)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Elementary Education)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on English)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on General Education)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Gifted)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on History)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Leadership)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Middle Grades)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Special Education)
  • MED for Teaching and Learning (emphasis on Student Services)
  • MS in Sports Management (emphasis in General Sports)
  • MS in Sports Management (emphasis on Outdoor Adventure Sport)
  • MS in Sports Management (emphasis on Sport Administration)
  • MA in Music Education
  • Master of Religious Education
  • ED in Curriculum and Instruction
  • ED in Educational Leadership
SCORE: 93.61 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Ohio

Notre Dame College offers online programs for individuals looking to enter the teaching professionas well as those seeking to further their knowledge in the field. Students can choose from options such as the early childhood emphasis, which encourages field-based experience for pre-kindergarten through the third grade. The concentration in special education intervention provides guidelines for working with K-12 students who have mild to moderate disabilities.

Degree, endorsement and licensure programs for teachers include online courses using technology like the Moodle platform. Faculty members introduce graduates to instructional practices that they can put to use in their own classrooms. Notre Dame College is a Catholic school that welcomes students from any faith.

  • BA in Education (licensure in Mild-Moderate Intervention K-12)
  • BA in Education (licensure in Early Childhood Education PreK-3)
  • MED (specialization in Special Education)
  • MED (specialization in Reading)
  • MED (specialization in Educational Leadership)
SCORE: 93.46 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 87% STATE: Iowa

Online teaching programs from the University of Northern Iowa are offered at a variety of degree levels and in flexible formats. Classes available through distance learning combine synchronous and asynchronous formats, with live interactive video-conferencing and independent online study.

An undergraduate major in elementary education, designed for students with an associate degree, is delivered primarily online with some on-campus requirements. At the graduate level, fully online degree programsincludetheprofessional development option, which integratesweb-based courses ranging from multicultural education to instructional design. Licensed teachers can complete fully online endorsement programs in content areas such as ESL or reading.

  • Elementary Education (BA)
  • MAE in Early Childhood Education
  • MAE in Educational Leadership-Principalship
  • MA in Instructional Technology
  • MAE in Literacy Education
  • MAE for Teacher Leaders in American International Schools
  • MA in Mathematics for the Middle Grades
  • MA in Mathematics (emphasis on Community College Teaching)
  • MA in Mathematics (emphasis on Secondary Teaching)
  • MM in Music Education
  • MA in Physical Education-Teaching and Coaching
  • MAE in Professional Development for Teachers
  • MA in School Library Studies
  • MA in Science Education
  • MA in Social Science for Teachers (Grades 6-12)
  • MA in Teaching English in Secondary Schools
  • MA in TESOL
SCORE: 93.34 Student to teacher ratio: 10:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 92% STATE: Missouri

Fontbonne University has a range of online degree and certificate programs in the area of education. Online courses are similar to on-campus classes, with group discussions, assignment deadlines and projects. Courses are designed to encourage critical and ethical thinking and to follow the school’s mission as a Catholic institution providing a holistic learning experience.

One hybrid program is intended for teachers or paraprofessionals currently working in school settingswho are also residentsof certain areas of Missouri and Illinois. Online courses are combined with clinical/practicum requirements that students complete at their workplace. At the bachelor’s level, applicantsneed have approximately 60 credit hours from an associate degree or prior college experience that can be transferred.

  • Bachelor's in Special Education-Paraprofessional Pathways
  • MAE in Reading
  • MS in Instructional Design and Technology
  • MS in Learning Technologies
  • Master's in Teaching Special Education (Paraprofessional Pathways)
SCORE: 93.17 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 88% STATE: Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin-Superior offers students a chance to major in education through the school’s Distance Learning Center. Online students may pursue a range of minors to complement their course of study, including social studies, science, health, language arts and early childhood development. The program can be completed primarily online, although on-site visits are required for a student teacher interview, orientation and seminar. On-campus classes in health and human performance are offered in the summer as a three-week block. Student teaching opportunities are available in the state of Wisconsin and certain areas of Minnesota.

  • Bachelor's in Elementary Education
SCORE: 93.06 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% STATE: North Dakota

Mayville State University offers opportunities for future teachers to earn a degree through online learning. An associate degree program blends field experience with online courses for students interested in early childhood development. Graduates need 69 credit hours in areas such as observation, assessment, language and literacy, and pre-kindergarten teaching methods and materials.Licensed, practicing teachers can also earn online credits forcredentials or endorsements specializing in a certain grade level or subject.

Most distance learning programs from Mayville State University are available on a part- or full-time basis, depending on student needs. The university reports that small class sizes allow online students to get to know their instructors and peers, just like in a traditional setting.

  • AA in Early Childhood
  • BA in Early Childhood
  • BSE in Mathematics Education
  • BSE in Special Education
SCORE: 93.04 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 98% STATE: California

Hope International University’s online teacher preparation programpromotesthe integration ofthe Christian faith with studies in the liberal arts andthe field of education. Third- and fourth-year students in the undergraduate program may apply a limited number of credit hours toward a master’s degree. Graduate degree programs in education offer several concentrations including an emphasis on individualized learning. Programs are available online or in a hybrid format, with some on-site classes. Students who aren’t sure if an online class is right for them may “test drive” a course. Web-centered courses are delivered via video lectures, chat programs, discussion forums and an online course management system.

  • BA in Liberal Studies-Teacher Preparation
SCORE: 92.99 Student to teacher ratio: 21:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 84% STATE: Wisconsin

Students attending the University of Wisconsin eCampus may pursue education-related degrees at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Programshave varying goals such as preparingfutureteachersto work with children or adult learners, including those with special needs. Other majors offer different paths that could lead to administrative positions in school districts. Although the overwhelming majority of the coursework can be taken online, some courses require experience or observation in local schools. Graduates of teacher preparation programs can apply for licensure to teach in Wisconsin, and out-of-state students can refer to their own state’s regulations for teacher licensing and credentials.

  • Bachelor's in Elementary Education
  • MS in Administrative Leadership (concentration in Adult and Continuing EducationLeadership)
  • MS in Administrative Leadership (concentration in Educational Leadership)
  • MS in Administrative Leadership (concentration in Higher Education Administration)
  • MS in Career and Technical Education
  • MS in Cultural Foundations of Education
  • MED in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Education
  • MS in Distance Education Leadership
  • MS for Professional Educators
SCORE: 92.9 Student to teacher ratio: 12:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 92% STATE: Ohio

Online programs from God’s Bible School & College offer studies in ministerial education for individuals seeking leadership and teaching roles in church-related settings. These programs can be completed fully online or through a hybrid format integratingweb-based studies with on-campus courses in Cincinatti. To reduce attendance requirements, many on-campus courses are held in “block” format, for 2-4 days once or twice a semester. The school makes accommodations for those with slower Internet connections, permitting them to download all course material at the beginning of the semester, and then log on only once per week to submit assignments.

  • BA in Ministerial Education
  • AAS in Ministerial Education
SCORE: 92.71 Student to teacher ratio: 20:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 95% STATE: Arkansas

Arkansas Tech University offers options for students looking to pursue online degrees in teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The bachelor’s program is hybrid, with about half of the courses available online and an opportunity to gain field experience in person.

Prospective Arkansas Tech students can preview classes online, including course descriptions, objectives and a summary of the types of assignments given. Somecourses focus on early childhood, preparing teachers to work with students from pre-kindergarten to fourth grade. Courses cover curriculum and planning, learning theory and differentiated instruction, as well as building collaborative relationships with coworkers, parents and the community.

  • AD in Early Childhood Education (Pre-K)
  • BS in Early Childhood Education
  • MS in College Student Personnel
  • MA in TESOL
  • MED in Educational Leadership
SCORE: 92.69 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 97% STATE: New Mexico

In addition to New Mexico State University’s five campuses and extension offices around the state, the Distance Education division offersopportunities for online education. For teachers and educators, NMSUhasonline graduate degree and certificate programs as well as specialized endorsements. A bachelor’s degree completion program uses course delivery methods such as interactive television. For acceptance to this undergraduate program, applicants must have satisfied all the teacher education prerequisites.

Classes are provided through distance education media with minimal on-campus sessions. Web-based instructional methods include communication with faculty members through chats and email. Online students are eligible for advising, career counseling, library access and other services afforded to traditional on-campus students.

  • BS in Elementary Education
  • MAE (emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction)
  • MAE (emphasis in Learning Technologies)
  • MA in Education Administration (emphasis in Community College and University Administration)
  • MA in Education Administration (PreK-12 Educational Administration)
  • MAE in Curriculum and Instruction (emphasis Early Childhood Education)
  • MAE with a Graduate Certificate in Online Teaching and Learning
  • MM in Music Education
  • ED in Educational Leadership
  • PHD in Educational Leadership
  • PHD in Curriculum and Instruction
SCORE: 92.31 Student to teacher ratio: 21:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 87% STATE: Nebraska

Online studies for teachers include University of Nebraska – Lincoln programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as certification and endorsement. Students can opt for teacher licensure preparation at the elementary or secondary grade levels, or they can choose programs in specific subject areas, such as early childhood special education. One undergraduate online program explores how children up to the age of eight are affected by livingin a mobile society.The online graduate programs are primarily designed for special education teachersor for professionals seeking leadership roles in elementary, secondary or higher education.

  • BS in Early Childhood in a Mobile Society
  • MA in Deaf Education
  • MED in Deaf Education
  • MA in Early Childhood Special Education
  • MED in Early Childhood Special Education
  • MS in Family and Consumer Sciences Education
  • MA in German Language Education
  • MA in Higher Education Administration
  • MAT in Mathematics for Teachers
  • MA in Mild-Moderate Disabilities
  • MED in Mild-Moderate Disabilities
  • MED in P-12 Education Administration
  • MAS in Science for Educators
  • MA in P-12 Visual Impairment
  • MED in P-12 Visual Impairment
  • MS in Youth Development
  • ED in Educational Leadership and Higher Education
  • PHD in Educational Leadership and Higher Education
  • ED in P-12 Education Administration
SCORE: 92.27 Student to teacher ratio: 18:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% STATE: South Carolina

University of South Carolina Columbia offers degree programs in education that can be earned fully or partially online. Students interested in elementary educationcan complete the first two years of a bachelor’s degree on campus, withthe final two years online. The requirements for the major are available through distance learning, and the program culminates with on-site fieldwork at an elementary school.

The online graduate degree in teaching is structured as a 2-year program with core coursework in professional teaching development andpedagogical research, including a capstone project reflecting the student’s area of interest. The graduate program uses asynchronous delivery of course material and does not require in-personattendance.

  • BA in Elementary Education
  • MED in Teaching
  • MED in Educational Administration
  • ED in Curriculum and Instruction
SCORE: 92.21 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Virginia

Bluefield College offers online degree programs for educators at both the undergraduate and graduate level. At the bachelor’s level, students learn to create developmentally appropriate classrooms for children in a variety of settings, such as daycare centers, churches and social service agencies. Courses on the master’s level emphasize research-based teaching and the use of emerging educational technologies. Internships and classroom placements are required, althoughprofessional teachers in the master’s program may be able to complete their field work in their own classroom.

Distance courses at Bluefield College are held in an eight-week, accelerated format. Instruction is delivered through online discussion boards and virtual classrooms, including lecture videos prepared by instructors for each session.

  • BS in Early Childhood Education
  • MA in Education
SCORE: 92.21 Student to teacher ratio: 41:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Utah

With more than 20 online offerings, Western Governors University’s Teachers College provides programs targeting diverse subject areas and grade levels. Online degrees include undergraduate and graduate options as well as licensure preparation, with the choice of concentrating on a certain age group or a specific discipline. The school uses a competency-based approach to assessment, allowing students to leverage relevant past experience and education. Support for distance learners includes access to enrollment counselors, individualized degree plans, online communities and mentoring. Instructional opportunities could include simulations, tutorials and small online groups promoting cooperative learning.

  • BA in Interdisciplinary Studies K-8
  • BA in Special Education K-12
  • BA in Mathematics (Grades 5-9)
  • BA in Mathematics (Grades 5-12)
  • BA in Science (Grades 5-9)
  • BA in Science (Chemistry Grades 5-12)
  • BA in Science (Physics Grades 5-12)
  • BA in Science (Biological Science Grades 5-12)
  • BA in Science (Geosciences Grades 5-12)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Elementary Education K-8)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (English Grades 5-12)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Mathematics Grades 5-9)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Mathematics Grades 5-12)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Science Grades 5-9)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Science Grades 5-12)
  • MAT with Teacher Licensure (Social Science Grades 5-12)
  • MS in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MS in Special Education K-12
  • MS in Educational Leadership
  • MA in English Language Learning and English as a Second Language PreK-12
  • MED in Instructional Design
  • MED in Learning and Technology
  • MA in Mathematics Education (K-6)
  • MA in Mathematics Education (Grades 5-9)
  • MA in Mathematics Education (Grades 9-12)
  • MA in Science Education ( Grades 5-9)
  • MA in Science Education (Chemistry Grades 5-12)
  • MA in Science Education (Physics Grades 5-12)
  • MA in Science Education (Biological Sciences Grades 5-12)
  • MA in Science Education (Geosciences Grades 5-12)
  • MS in Nursing Education
  • MS in Nursing Education with RN to MSN Option
SCORE: 92.14 Student to teacher ratio: 11:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 70% STATE: New Hampshire

Future educators can earn one of a number of online degrees at Granite State College. Students can choose an associate degree path designed to prepare professionals known as para-educators who work in school settings.Some web-based studies focus on teaching children up to the age of 8 years, with a possible emphasis on learners with special needs. Other online options includepost-graduate certification and teacher development programs. Studentscan complete coursework online, however some degrees require field experience. Participants in GSC’s teacher education program are trained in utilizing technology in the classroom such astablets, LCD projectors and robotic cameras.

  • AA in General Studies (concentration in Education)
  • AS in Early Childhood Education
  • BS in Early Childhood Education with Teacher Certification
  • BS in Applied Studies in Human Services and Early Childhood Development (no teaching certification)
  • BA in English Language Arts with Teacher Certification in Early Childhood (N-3) and Early Childhood Special Education (Birth-Age 8)
  • BA in English Language Arts with Teacher Certification in Elementary Education (K-8) and General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in English Language Arts with Teacher Certification in ESOL (K-12)
  • BA in English Language Arts with Teacher Certification in General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in Math Studies with Teacher Certification in Elementary Education (K-8) and General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in Math Studies with Teacher Certification in General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in Math Studies with Teacher Certification in Mathematics (5-8)
  • BA in Math Studies with Teacher Certification in Mathematics (5-8) and General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in Math Studies with Teacher Certification in Secondary Mathematics (7-12)
  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Studies with Teacher Certification in Elementary Education (K-8) and General Special Education (K-12)
  • BA in Social Studies with Teacher Certification in ESOL (K-12)
  • BA in Social Studies with Teacher Certification in General Special Education (K-12)
SCORE: 92.14 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 97% STATE: New Mexico

Online academic opportunities from Western New Mexico University include programs for students planning to become teachers or school administrators. Options for emphasis range from leadership to vocational training. Studies may include field work — for example, tutoring in after-school reading programs can help students to apply knowledge gained from the online courses.

Distance learners at Western New Mexico University enjoy access to tutors, and course learning system tech support is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Professors aim to work around the schedule of the students. Degrees can be customized for individual courses of study, and there are no required logon times, as students can set their own schedules.

  • BAS in Career and Technical Education
  • MA in Educational Leadership
  • MA in Teaching Reading
  • MAT (for students with or without licensure)
SCORE: 92.12 Student to teacher ratio: 13:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 100% STATE: Kentucky

Students of Midway College can earn an undergraduate degree in education completely online through an accelerated format. Web-based classes allow participants to complete coursework asynchronously—at a time that meets their individual schedule.

The teacher education program addresses the needs of children in the range from kindergarten through the fifth grade or in grades 5-9. Graduates can request provisional licensure in Kentucky, and reciprocal agreements may allow candidates to apply for certification in other states. Students choose an area of emphasis such as English and communication, mathematics, fine arts and humanities, or social and behavior sciences. An optionallearning and behavior disorders concentrationleads to a certificate for elementary or middle school teachers.

  • BA in Elementary and Middle School Education
SCORE: 91.83 Student to teacher ratio: 8:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% STATE: Ohio

Online undergraduate programs from Union Institute & University are tailored for individuals hoping to work as teachers for preschool or grades kindergarten through six. Students can learn to develop curriculum and materials, assess student performance and use instructional technologies to teach young learners. Students choosing the elementary education optionare encouraged todevelop mastery of a subject area, such as language arts, math or social science. Another academic track explores child development from birth through age eight. The early childhood education major provides an accelerated option for students who are in their last year of college, offering courses on an eight-week schedule.

  • BS in Early Childhood Studies
  • BS in Elementary Education
  • BS in Exceptional Student Education
  • BS in Secondary Education
SCORE: 91.7 Student to teacher ratio: 16:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% STATE: Minnesota

In the field of education, Concordia University offers online degree programs at the associate and bachelor’s level, as well as numerous master’s level programs. For the bachelor’s degree, students complete 128 credits total, with 42 dedicated to their major studies. The program focuses on theories of early childhood education, applying developmentally appropriate practices, creating inclusive learning environments and conducting a classroom in an ethical manner. Participants should be employed or volunteering in educational settings.

At the master’s level, students can choose from specializations such as educational technology. Most coursework is asynchronous, so it can be completed at any time, however, some programs involve occasional synchronous audio and video chats with professors or classmates.

  • AA in Early Childhood Education
  • AA in Education (non-licensure)
  • BA in Child Development
  • MAE in Curriculum and Instruction with K-12 Reading Endorsement
  • MAE in Differentiated Instruction
  • MAE in Early Childhood Education
  • MAE in Educational Leadership
  • MAE in Educational Technology
  • MAE in Special Education with Autism Spectrum Disorder Licensure
  • MAE in Special Education with Emotional/Behavioral Disorders Licensure
  • MAE in Special Education-Specific Learning Disabilities
SCORE: 91.38 Student to teacher ratio: 27:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 91% STATE: Florida

Aspiring and current teachers can find online programs from Florida International University at the bachelor’s and master’s level. One program focuses on the development of the whole child, from language acquisition to social and emotional maturity. Students can also learn about classroom management, family engagement and respectingdiversity. Graduate students can choose from several specializations, and programs delve into research and methods for educating learnerswith different ages and abilities.

All programs are fully online, and classes use the BlackBoard Learn course management system, allowing students to access course materials and assignments, collaborate with peers and interact with instructors. A mandatory online orientation demonstrates how to use BlackBoard Learn and how to access school resources.

  • MS in Adult Education and Human Resource Development
  • MS in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MS in Music Education
  • MS in Special Education
SCORE: 91.27 Student to teacher ratio: 22:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 41% STATE: California

A private, nonprofit institution, National University provides online degreeand certificate programsin education that touch on topics such asautism, childhood development and instructional technology. Associate degree programs serve online learners interested in working in child careenvironments or para-educational support roles in schools.

Because of teacher certification requirements in California and Nevada, some programs are for residents of those states only. While all coursework is available online, some degrees require a student teaching or capstone component. National University has systems in place to support online students, including a concierge service to assist them throughout their program.

  • AA in Early Childhood Education
  • AA in School-Site Paraprofessional
  • BA in Elementary Education with Nevada Elementary Licensure (Nevada only)
  • BA in English Education with Nevada Secondary Licensure (Nevada Only)
  • BA in Social Science with a Preliminary Single Subject (California Only)
  • BA in Early Childhood Development California Preliminary Multiple Subject Credential (California Only)
  • BA in English with a Preliminary Single Subject Credential (California Only)
  • BA in Mathematics Courses with Single Subject Credential
  • BA in Social Science with a Preliminary Single Subject Teaching Credential (California Only)
  • MAT
  • MS in Special Education (California Only)
  • MED with Preliminary Multiple or Single Subjects Teaching Credential and Internship Option (California Only)
  • MS in Educational and Instructional Technology
  • MS in Educational Administration with Preliminary Administrative Services Credential Option (California Only)
  • MS in Higher Education Administration
SCORE: 91.25 Student to teacher ratio: 21:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 75% STATE: Alabama

Online teaching programs from the University of Alabama are offered at several degree levels and in numerous academic areas. Undergraduate programsserve students interested in working in child care settings, including roles in instruction and administration. A child development practitioner option is available to persons who are employed at a Head Start center.

Online graduate degrees in the field of education cover differing subjects of emphasis and multiple grade levels, and some programs offer preparatory studies for teacher certification. Courses are available in fully online and blended formats. Online courses are delivered asynchronously, but exams are taken at a proctored site.

  • BS in HES -Early Childhood Education major with a concentration in Early Child Development
  • MA in Educational Psychology (Learning and Assessment)
  • MA in Elementary Education
  • MA in Secondary Curriculum Teaching and Learning with P-12 Reading Specialist Certification
  • BS in Human Environmental Sciences (Early Childhood Education major with a concentration in Early Child Development)
  • ED in Secondary Education Science
SCORE: 90.6 Student to teacher ratio: 23:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% STATE: Minnesota

Students with prior academic experience can findonline programsfrom Bemidji State in areas such as learning disabilities. A bachelor’s degree program through the school’s 2+2 initiative builds on existing college degrees. The FasTrackPostBac program combinescredits from previous degrees with online courses focused oninstruction at the secondary level. Some programs require attendance, for example, three on-campus visits per year, as well as student teaching hours.

Many of Bemidji’s online learners are adults who wish to change or advance their careers while continuing to work full- or part-time. The university offers services to distance students, including advising,electronic access to library resources, technical support, tutoring, a writing resource center and advice on transferring credits from previous schooling.

  • BS in Elementary Education
  • MS in Special Education
SCORE: 90.48 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 69% STATE: North Carolina

University of North Carolina Wilmington offers online undergraduate and graduate degrees for aspiring and licensed teachers. The elementary education major is part of an extension program, intended for applicants with prior college credit. The first two years of this hybrid program are availableat Coastal Carolina Community College. Instruction relies on delivery formats including on-campus, online and two-way interactive video classes. The curriculum touches on teaching methods for kindergarten through the sixth grade.Fully online graduate programs from UNC offerspecializations such aslanguage and literacy, special education and teaching middle grades.

  • B.A. Elementary Education
  • MED in Elementary Education K-6
  • MED in Curriculum Instruction and Supervision K-12
  • MS in Instructional Technology
  • MED in Middle Grades Education 6-9
SCORE: 90.43 Student to teacher ratio: 6:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 29% STATE: California

Bethesda University offers an online degree program for individuals seeking to teach in Christian church communities and church-affiliated agencies. Participants learn to lead age-appropriate groups, identify and use common instructional methods for this field, and analyze a church’s educational ministries. In addition to coursesin religion,theology and leadership, the curriculum encompasses general studies in communications, social sciences, humanities, computers and natural sciences.

Students can take advantage of Bethesda’s online academic program from any location, with no on-campus requirements. The Moodle learning management systemserves for the distribution of materials, submission of assignments, and communication among students and professors.

  • BA in Religion-Christian Education
SCORE: 90.23 Student to teacher ratio: 22:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% STATE: Florida

Warner University’s online undergraduate and graduate degrees in education are available to both future and current teachers. Studies emphasize the practical application of theory and concepts within the classroom. Beyond its academic majors, the university is proud to offer its community of adult learners a Christian perspective.


Distance learning uses a self-paced format, with some students finishing undergraduate programs in as little as a year, and others taking up to three years. Graduate programs are designed to be completed in 24 months. There is no set schedule or time that students have to log on, as long as their assignments are completed by the deadline that the instructor sets.

  • BA in Educational Studies
  • MAE in Educational Studies
SCORE: 90.02 Student to teacher ratio: 23:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 91% STATE: Arizona

Arizona State University offers a number of online teaching programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and certificate levels. All courses are online, although some programs also require an in-personstudent teaching commitment. Certain programs train special education teachers on the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques of instruction.

ASU’s distance education programs use the LearningStudio course management system to facilitate access to study materials and communication between instructors and students. The school provides video orientations for new students to familiarize themselves with the technology used in online courses.Classes are typically taught by the same professors that instruct on-campus classes.

  • BA in Education
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction: Applied Behavior Analysis
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction: Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction: Gifted
  • MED in Early Childhood Education-Certification/Endorsement
  • MED in Educational Leadership (Principalship)
SCORE: 89.83 Student to teacher ratio: 20:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% STATE: Ohio

The University of Akron has a variety of online teaching programs, including studies for professional and technical educators. Students with specialized training — for example, medical assistants and computer technicians — can prepare to teach adult learners in post-secondary settings, such as junior colleges, military installations and businesses.Courses for the major include workplace education, online instruction, learning with technology and instructional design.

At the graduate level, the University of Akron offers onlinedegree and certificate programs designed for current teachers as well as those not yet active in the profession.One choice for study focuses on assessment, evaluation and the use of data to inform administrative decisions andschool improvement initiatives.

  • BS in Teaching and Training Technical Professionals
  • MS in Teaching and Training Technical Professionals
  • MA in Educational Foundations (focus in Instructional Technology)
  • MA in Educational Foundations (focus in Assessment/Evaluation)
SCORE: 89.78 Student to teacher ratio: 19:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 99% STATE: Michigan

The online bachelor’s degree program from Michigan Jewish Institute offers a concentration in education for those wishing to teach in Jewish religious schools. This education track includes a supervised practicum as well as online course work in psychology, pedagogical practices and instructional methodologies.

Programs fromMJI Online are flexible, so students may complete assignments and view presentations at a time convenient to them.MJIOnline encourages interaction through chats, email and discussion boards. Students have access to tech support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and they can begin their program slowly—taking just one or two classes at a time—until they are comfortable with the online format.

  • BAS in Judaic Studies (concentration in Jewish Education)
SCORE: 89.09 Student to teacher ratio: 2:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 57% STATE: Kansas

Ottawa University’s online programs include degrees in educationfor undergrads and graduate students. A program for teachers of grades K-6 offers an optional concentration in communication. Aspiring high school instructors can choose amongspecializations ranging from art to biology to choral music. Majors such as accounting, business administration and history can also be combined with a minor in secondary education.

Ottawa’s online classes offer flexible formats and schedules, and students can complete their coursework asynchronously, as convenient. In accordance with Kansas state regulations, teacher education programs include observation and supervised field work in the classroom. Interested students can ask the university about earning college credits through military service, CLEP or DANTESprofessional exams, or work and life experience.

  • BA in Human Resources (concentration in Adult Education)
  • BA in Elementary Education
  • MAE in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MAE in Education Intervention
  • MAE in Education Technology
  • MAE in Educational Leadership
SCORE: 88.98 Student to teacher ratio: 15:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 81% STATE: Ohio

University of Cincinnati offers education and teaching programs leading to undergraduate and graduate degrees and certification levels. Students who want to work with young children can select an associate degree with a focus in infants and toddlers, preschoolers or administration. Choices for early childhoodeducators also include a bachelor’s degree program, which requires teaching experience,or course work toward the Child Development Associate credential.

An online graduate degree program in education permits specializations such as special education, educational leadership, gifted and talented learners, and STEM — that is, science, technology, engineering and math. Master’s-level students are assigned to small cohort groups, and online classes are delivered through the Blackboard learning platform.

  • AAS in Early Childhood Care and Education (Infant/Toddler track)
  • AAS in Early Childhood Care and Education (Preschool track)
  • BS in Early Childhood Education-Birth-Age 5 with PreK licensure
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on Gifted Creative and Talented)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on National Board Preparation)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on Reading Specialist)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on STEM)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on TESOL)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction (focus on Teacher Leader)
  • MED in Educational Leadership
  • MED in Literacy and Second Language Studies
  • MED in Medical Education for Health Care Professionals
  • MED in Special Education (student must already have Ohio Teaching License)
SCORE: 88.97 Student to teacher ratio: 23:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 96% STATE: Louisiana

The University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM) features several online degree options in education and teaching. Graduate programs target a range of subjects, from teaching at the elementary and secondary levelsto instructional technology management. A certificate program is available to current licensed teachers who wish to add an endorsement in another area, such as middle school English, math or science.

ULM’s online programs are delivered through a course management system that allows students to participate in discussion groups, turn in assignments and follow lectures online. Online studies for educators are often complemented by a field work or student teaching component.

  • BS in Elementary Education
  • MAT (Grades 1-5)
  • MAT (Grades 6-12)
  • MAT (Special Education Grades 1-5)
  • MAT (Special Education Grades 6-12)
  • MED in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MED in Educational Leadership
  • MED in Educational Technology Leadership
  • ED in Curriculum and Instruction
SCORE: 88.69 Student to teacher ratio: 17:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 67% STATE: Alabama

Athens State University offers several fully online degree programs in education. Studies in technical education emphasize meeting the diverse needs of students of varying ages, including adult learners in the context of vocational training. Some of the available specializations fall outside of traditional K-12 school teaching, with tracks in areas such as military instruction and post-secondary education. Studies in instructional design cover multimedia methods that could apply in schools and other settings.Programs emphasize preparing teachers to embrace technology, multiculturalism, fairness and the belief that all students can learn.

Athens State providessupport for online students, including technical support, career services and advising. Students also can choose from blended programs, with both online and on-campus classes.

  • BS in Technical Education (Instructional Design)
  • BS in Technical Education (Military Instructor)
  • BS in Technical Education (Post-Secondary Instructor)
  • BS in Technical Education (Early Instructor)
SCORE: 88.37 Student to teacher ratio: 25:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 79% STATE: Florida

Indian River State College’s virtual campus offers online academic opportunities for would-be teachers, including a major that combinesexceptional student education with an English for Speakers of Other Languages specialization. This program helps prepare students to affect the lives of children by acknowledging their unique needs and utilizing specific skills and training to meet those needs. The online program uses Blackboard for its course management platform, where students can access their course materials and collaborate with peers.Teaching degree programs may require classroom experience as well as web-centered coursework.

  • BS in Elementary Education with Reading and ESOL Endorsements
  • BS in Education (specialization in Exceptional Student Education with ESOL)
  • BS in Education (specialization inMiddle Grades Math)
  • BS in Education (specialization in Middle Grades Science)
  • BS in Education (specialization in Secondary Biology
  • BS in Education (specialization in Secondary Math)
SCORE: 87.87 Student to teacher ratio: 23:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 90% STATE: Colorado

Colorado Mesa University has an online degree program for students interested in becoming elementary school teachers. Would-be teachers can opt for specializations in English orsocial science.Many subjects are examined in the program, including assessment, planning and instructional strategies. Students learn how to differentiate instruction for individual learners, and they are encouraged to use self-reflection and collaboration to enhance professional learning.

Although coursework is delivered online, the program requires student teaching placements for multiple courses. Distance learning through Colorado Mesa uses a variety of mediums, including discussion forums and bulletin boards, electronic lectures with video and audio components, and online multimedia assignments.

  • BA in Liberal Arts-Early Childhood Education Licensure
SCORE: 85.79 Student to teacher ratio: 14:1 % Students Receiving Aid: 50% STATE: California

A range of teaching degreesare available online from Brandman University at the undergraduate and graduate level. While courses are delivered online, some programs require fieldwork in schools and educational settings local to the student. The programs encourage the use of research and current theories of human development to inform teaching strategies.

Bachelor’s degrees require 120 semester credits, with coursework on child growth and development, curriculum for young children and teaching in a diverse society. Master’s level programs vary from 12 to 36 credits, with possible courses in the role of technology, educational law and ethics, leadership and differentiated instruction.The faculty for Brandman University’s online education courses includes professionals such as superintendents, principals and non-profit business leaders.

  • BA in Liberal Studies-Multiple Subjects Teaching
  • BA in Early Childhood Education
  • MAE in Curriculum and Instruction
  • MAE in Educational Leadership
  • MAE in Instructional Technology/Teaching the 21st Century Learner
  • MAE in Leadership in Early Childhood Education
  • MAE in Teaching and Learning
  • MA in Educational Leadership and Administration with Preliminary Administrative ServicesCredential

The Future Teacher’s Guide to Online Degrees

Earning a degree in education or teaching can be challenging while working or raising a family. This holds true for aspiring teachers just starting out, or seasoned professionals who need to earn an additional degree to advance their careers. Many colleges and universities have added both fully online and hybrid degree programs to their collections to help educators earn the credentials they need with maximum flexibility. Learn the ins and outs of online teaching degrees below.


More than 3.4 million teachers were employed in public and private school settings in the fall of 2014, making teaching one of the largest occupational groups in the country. Entering and advancing in the profession starts and continues with undergraduate and graduate teaching degree programs. For prospective students and working educators, completing an educational program can be done in three ways: entirely online, on-campus or through hybrid learning formats.

Online teaching degrees continue to grow in popularity — especially at the graduate level — as evidenced by the yearly rankings from the US News and World Report. In its latest rankings, the University of Houston, Florida State University and Northern Illinois University had the top three online graduate education programs in the country.

From entry-level employment to career advancement, online teaching degrees afford prospective educators and current educators the opportunity to develop both conceptual knowledge of education and practical teaching skills that can be applied inside and outside of the classroom. The following guide examines how online teaching degrees work, which colleges and universities offer them, and key elements to keep in mind before enrolling. See how distance learning can help you get started.

Becoming a Teacher via Online Degrees

The path from college student to classroom teacher looks different for everyone. Some may start with an associate degree and work through a bachelor’s, others may jump straight into a bachelor’s and then move to an online master’s program. Every future teacher, however, should seriously consider the steps they may need to take along the way. Here’s a glimpse of a common path for online students in education/teaching:

How Do Online Programs Work?

Whether the goal is to teach in a low-income urban setting or eventually pursue a graduate education, an online teacher preparation program can get the process started. Today, depending on the degree level and institution — online degrees can be completed entirely online, rather than through traditional, campus-based settings.

Online teacher degree programs work in one of two ways: online asynchronous and online synchronous.

Online asynchronous. Imagine no 8 AM courses — that’s what asynchronous learning programs allow. Students may access their educational materials from any location and complete their coursework on their own schedule. Through these programs, students follow a syllabus and exam schedule created by the instructor — but manage the learning process themselves.

Online synchronous. For the learner who prefers real-time engagement with instructors and classmates, then online synchronous is the right format. Students may also access their materials from any location, but they also participate in regularly class discussions and instructional sessions through online technologies (such as online chat or Google+ hangouts).

Because of their advanced nature, online master’s and doctoral degree programs in education may require students to participate in on-campus learning intensives, internships, or residencies. These in-person meetings vary by degree program and institution. In turn, prior to selecting a graduate program, students should contact the university to review requirements.

The Benefits of Online Teaching Degrees

Online teaching degrees enable those wishing to become teachers to earn a degree from anywhere and whenever it’s most convenient. Both online teaching bachelor’s and master’s degrees are available. When earned at reputable and accredited institutions, online teaching degrees carry the same weight as those earned in the classroom.

Proponents of online learning cite advantages related to:


Students can generally fit learning into their schedules without having to take time off work or family responsibilities. Learning can be done from anywhere, so everyone has the same access to earning a degree as those able to travel to the university.


Online students can experience higher levels of engagement with their professors and peers.


Teachers who earn their degrees online become knowledgeable and comfortable with technology and how it can be used in the classroom.

Cost Savings

While online tuition is typically the same as that of classroom-based programs, students save money by not having to commute to class, pay for childcare, or eat out. Many students are also able to work while earning their degrees.

The Online Teaching Degree Landscape: A Look at Levels

The goal of online education programs is to produce highly capable, highly qualified education professionals whose skills and abilities have influence inside and outside of the classroom. Whether it is a high school graduate pursuing a calling to become a teacher, a career changer looking to become a certified educator, or an experienced teacher seeking advancement in their career, online teaching programs are available to meet those needs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Online Bachelor’s Degrees: Preparing to Become a Teacher

Completing an undergraduate program of study in education is the first step in qualifying for a K-12 teaching license. Typically designed to be completed through four years of full-time study (120 to 136 credit hours of study), online bachelor’s degree programs in education emphasize teacher preparation, based on foundational educational research, as well as both state and national standards.

In preparatory coursework, students examine the theories of learning, educational methods—such as differentiated learning—developing practical educational planning skills in the process. In turn, students learn how to evaluate educational models and receive an opportunity to explore the current educational trends and pedagogical research.

Because specific curriculum varies by institution, students considering an online undergraduate degree in education should ask the following three questions prior to making a decision:

  1. Does the program offer appropriate and challenging subject-matter instruction?
  2. Is the program focused on research-based pedagogical course preparation?
  3. Does the program provide clinical field experiences that are supervised by qualified, experienced educators?

Traditionally speaking, online bachelor’s degrees cover five major areas of education: early childhood education, elementary education, secondary education, educational technology and special education.

Online Master’s Degrees: Paving the Way to Career Advancement

Many experienced teachers and educators desire to reach the next level of their profession and—often—that requires completing an advanced degree. A master’s in education can prepare teachers to take that next step by enhancing their professional skills and subject mastery.

The personal and career goals of the teacher can influence the graduate path of study, as different degrees can prepare educators for different opportunities—from developing in-classroom skills to transitioning to a career in administration. Various online degree options are available, including the Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.), and Master of Education (M.Ed).

Master of Science. A research-focused degree, the Master of Science (M.S.) in Education is geared towards individuals interested in pursuing a scientific approach to education, building expertise not only in subject areas, but educational technology, instructional technology, student performance, and more.

Master of Arts. A flexible degree, the Master of Arts (M.A.) in Education allows teachers to specialize in different areas (e.g. elementary education, special education) and build subject- and classroom-specific knowledge and skills.

Master of Education. The M.Ed. is designed towards broadening the scope of an educator’s specialization, allowing them to move into administration positions by developing experience in areas such as curriculum and instruction, counselor education, and educational administration.

Master of Arts in Teaching. A professional degree, the M.A.T. typically provides hands-on teaching experience, focusing on advanced subject-based instruction and the “how” of teaching, covering areas such as pedagogy, methodology, educational trends, and more.

In addition, students may also select from grade-specific programs of study (e.g. K-12, 5-9, 5-12, 7-12, etc.), furthering allowing for additional educational customization. Example master’s degrees in education include:

  • M.S. Educational Leadership
  • M.A. Science Education
  • M.Ed. Instructional Design
  • M.S. Curriculum and Instruction
  • M.A. Science Education (Chemistry)
  • M.S. Special Education
  • M.Ed. Learning and Technology
  • M.A. Mathematics Education
  • M.S. Adult Education

Online Doctoral Degrees: Academic Scholarship and Research

Doctoral studies in education are for individuals desiring to be agents of change at universities, think tanks, policy institutes, public and private schools or seeking academic leadership positions. Like master’s degrees, online doctoral degrees in education typically come in three formats: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Education (Ed.D.), and Education Specialist (Ed.S.).

Ph.D. in Education. The Doctor of Philosophy is an academic-focused degree, one designed for educators who wish to conduct academic scholarship and teaching at the university level.

Ed.D. in Education. The Doctor of Education is a professionally oriented degree, one that concentrates on a more technical approach to advanced studies in education—preparing educators to work in administration at the university level or for the central office of a K-12 school district.

Ed.S. in Education. The Education Specialist doctorate is a specialist degree designed specifically for individuals working in educational administration.

Within each degree path, students may select from a specific discipline, such as curriculum and instruction, educational leadership, educational policy, educational administration, special education, and more. Example online doctoral education degrees include the following:

  • Ed.D. Curriculum and Instruction
  • Ph.D. in Education – Educational Technology
  • Ph.D. in Education – Professional Studies
  • Ed.D. Educational Administration
  • Ph.D. in Education – Special Education
  • Ed.S. in Educational Leadership

Student Teaching and Online Degrees

Completing an online program of study in education does not fulfill teacher certification requirements. K-12 teachers are typically required to complete a teacher licensure program of study prior to finishing coursework in their undergraduate programs. Prospective students should be sure to contact their state licensing office prior to enrolling in a program.

The core component of teacher licensure programs is student teaching, also called demonstration teaching. It is a vital part of the preparation process, helping teachers to integrate their classroom-based knowledge into real-world, practical application. Student teaching typically requires students to complete a supervised, full-time classroom teaching experience that lasts between 12 and 20 weeks. During the student teaching period, the supervising educator will perform a series of observations and provide periodic performance evaluations.

For the online learner enrolled in a program in another state, the placement process is traditionally arranged through the educational institution. Universities with online programs have placement specialists who will assist with that process, which could take as long as six months to secure a position.

In addition to the time it takes to potentially receive a student teaching placement, prospective online degree students should also consider the following three issues:

  1. Students may have to commute a significant distance to their placement school
  2. Students are not allowed to work while during student teaching periods
  3. Students need to meet pre-student teaching activity requirements to qualify

Earning a Teaching License

The teaching license is the ultimate goal of any student enrolled in an online teacher preparation program. Licensing occurs on a state-by-state basis, with individual state board’s licensing the teacher to work in that state.

Most state education agencies use the Praxis examinations to review and license teachers. Created by Educational Testing Services (ETS), a nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization, the Praxis examinations are split into two tests: Core Academic Skills for Educators and Subject Assessments

Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators

This examination is commonly used by universities for candidates to their teacher preparation programs. It covers and assesses a student’s knowledge in three arenas: writing, reading, and mathematics. Some states use the Core score during the teacher licensing process as well.

Praxis II Subject Assessments

The subject assessments are subject-specific examinations that test and assess a teacher’s knowledge of their subject area, general education, and subject-specific educational skills.

Determining which test to take depends on the state’s licensing agency’s guidelines for both teacher licensing and the subject to be licensed. Passing scores also vary by state, so it is important for students to contact their state board prior to registering for an examination to learn about testing requirements.

In addition, certain states—such as California—may require students to successfully pass other examinations to qualify for a teaching license. For example, an elementary school teacher in California must earn a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, according to State of California Commission on Teaching Accreditation. Earning this credential requires several steps, including passing the California Subject Examinations for Teachers (CSET), a passing score on the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), and more.

Licenses and certifications expire and must be renewed according to state policies. Educators may also have to pay licensing fees, submit to a background check, pay fees, and pass a CPR test to earn their license.

ETS provides a snapshot of state licensing requirements for prospective educators.

12 Things: Choosing an Online Teaching Program

The flexibility and convenience of online degree programs affords individuals juggling work and family commitments to continue their education without pressing pause on their lives. Yet, the number of teacher degree options continues to grow as more and more brick-and-mortar universities offer entire undergraduate and graduate programs online. The increasing number of options makes finding a reputable degree program paramount, one that fits not only the educational but the professional needs of the student.

Here are 12 items to review before selecting an institution:



Accreditation is important when evaluating any degree program, and even more so for those offered online. A college education is expensive and the college accreditation process weeds out fly-by-night schools and diploma mills that are focused on making a profit rather than on educating. An accredited college is one that’s been assessed by an independent agency and found to meet basic quality standards. Schools want teachers who’ve graduated from accredited programs. Accredited colleges will not accept credits from non-accredited institutions, an important consideration for those considering a master’s or who want to transfer to another school. And, very importantly, only accredited colleges and universities qualify for federal financial aid funds.

Colleges that offer online education degree programs are generally regionally accredited. Regional accreditation applies to all of a school’s programs, including those that are education-focused. In addition, schools have the option of having their education programs accredited by two specialized national boards, Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Montessori education programs have their own professional accrediting body, called the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE). MACTE only accredits individual teaching programs, versus schools or institutions.



Does the program just feel right? Is there a comfort level with the demands of the program, the faculty, the cost, and the curriculum?


Teacher certification

It’s also important to verify that the online teaching degree program leads to teacher certification in the state in which the student wishes to teach. Teacher certification is critical for those who plan to work in the public school system.



For many, online learning is a great option because it can be less expensive than the total cost of attending a brick-and-mortar institution. Yet, tuition costs vary by university and degree program. Conducting due diligence and comparing costs at several universities can paint a clearer picture of the total investment required.


Financial Aid

Getting a clear picture of available financial aid can help students defray the cost of college. Students should find out if the online teaching program or university participates in federal student aid programs, as well as investigate what types of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study are available to online learners.



Are programs offered via online synchronous or asynchronous formats? Is the program actually a hybrid, requiring on-campus attendance?



Researching faculty members is an oft-overlooked part of the research process into online programs. Students should review departmental faculty, read about their educational histories and professional research, and make a determination if the faculty in the program have the real-world experience and academic qualifications to offer top-flight instruction.


Length of program

The length of teacher programs varies. Ask the university or department for a sample curriculum outline or course work plan. Students should know what to expect during their four to five years of undergraduate study, two to three years for master’s study, and 3 to six years of study for doctoral degrees.


Technical Support

Online students should be concerned with the level of available technical support. Is there technical staff available 24 hours a day to help troubleshoot problems with the technology platforms?



Does the teaching degree program offer curriculum that matches the student’s future career goals? That is, does the department have courses that fit the professional development needs of the student? Just because the overall degree program seems to be suitable, the individual course outline may not actually meet career needs.



Just like a campus-based, traditional program, finding a university that also supports online learning students is an important part of the research process. From disability assistance to job placement services, students should contact potential programs to gain an understanding of what resources are available.


Classroom observations

Prior to student teaching, ask if the online program works with schools in the area to provide classroom observation opportunities to review different teaching situations and learning environments.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are online teaching degree programs accepted by employers?

Online learning has come a long way since its early days. Major universities today are offering online degree programs where students earn the exact same diploma as those learning on campus. In fact, employers often have no way of knowing whether a degree was earned online or on campus. As long as the online teaching degree program is accredited, regionally and/or by a specialized teaching board, employers and state certification boards will accept the degree.

How can I tell if an online teaching degree program is reputable?

Look for schools and teaching programs that are accredited. An accredited college has been assessed by an independent agency and found to meet basic quality standards. Colleges that offer online education degree programs are generally regionally accredited, meaning all the school’s programs have received a stamp of approval. In addition, schools have the option of having their education programs accredited by two specialized national boards, Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC) and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE).

Is an online teaching degree easier to complete than a classroom-based program?

Since accredited online teaching degrees are considered to be of the same quality as classroom-based degrees, they are certainly not any easier to complete. In fact, online courses can sometimes be even more rigorous than their classroom-based counterparts.

How much time should I expect to spend earning an online teaching degree?

The length of time it takes to complete an online teaching degree varies greatly and depends on many factors, such as the type of degree, whether you pursue full- or part-time study, and the number of credits required. Students should expect to devote several hours per week to each course they take. Again, the actual time spent will vary, but schools can help students estimate their time allotment needs.

What are some advantages of earning an online teaching degree?

Beyond the obvious advantage of offering flexibility to study when its most convenient, online teaching degrees can save you money and immerse you in a community of like-minded learners. In addition, teachers who earn their degrees online become knowledgeable and comfortable with technology and how it can be used in the classroom, which is a huge advantage nowadays.

How can I tell if opting for an online teaching degree is the right choice for me?

Online students need to be motivated, self-disciplined, have good time management skills, and be comfortable with technology. They need to be proactive and access the course frequently to stay on top of the work. Students also need to be at ease communicating and interacting with other people without face-to-face contact. Those who remain unsure, should consider taking one course online before signing up for an entire degree program.

What types of online teaching degrees are available?

There are online teaching degrees available at every level: associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral.

States generally require student teaching experience in a classroom before granting licensure. How do online programs handle this?

Online teacher degree programs typically work with students to locate opportunities to teach in a classroom close to where they live. Some online programs have established relationships with school districts across the state, and sometimes the country, to facilitate student teacher placement.

Does earning a teaching degree online affect one’s ability to obtain state certification?

No, not as long as the online teaching degree program is accredited and fulfills the educational requirements for certification in that particular state.

Are there online options for earning continuing education credits?

There are a slew of online options for earning continuing education credits offered by a variety of providers, from state governments to online schools to professional teacher associations.